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Encyclopedia > Adagio for Strings
Samuel Barber, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1944
Samuel Barber, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1944

"Adagio for Strings" is a work for string orchestra, arranged by the American composer Samuel Barber from his first string quartet. It is Barber's most popular piece. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Carl Van Vechten (June 17, 1880 – December 21, 1964) was an American writer and photographer who was a patron of the Harlem Renaissance and the literary executor of Gertrude Stein. ... A string orchestra is an orchestra composed solely of stringed instruments. ... A composer is a person who writes music. ... Samuel Barber, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1944 Samuel Osborne Barber II (March 9, 1910 – January 23, 1981) was an American composer of classical music ranging from orchestral, to opera, choral, and piano music. ...



Barber's "Adagio for Strings" originated as part of his String Quartet No. 1, Op. 11, composed in 1936. In the original it follows a violently contrasting first movement, and is succeeded by a brief reprise of this music.

In January of 1938 Barber sent the piece to Arturo Toscanini. The conductor returned the score without comment, and Barber was annoyed and avoided the conductor. Consequently Toscanini sent word through a friend that he was planning to perform the piece and had returned it simply because he had already memorized it.[1] Barber's own arrangement for string orchestra was given its first performance by Arturo Toscanini with the NBC Symphony Orchestra on November 5, 1938 in New York. Arturo Toscanini (March 25, 1867 – January 16, 1957) was an Italian musician. ... Arturo Toscanini (March 25, 1867 – January 16, 1957) was an Italian musician. ... Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall]] The NBC Symphony Orchestra was an orchestra established by David Sarnoff of the National Broadcasting Company as a vehicle for conductor Arturo Toscanini. ... is the 309th day of the year (310th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1938 (MCMXXXVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ...

The composer also arranged the piece in 1967 for eight-part choir, as a setting of the Agnus Dei ("Lamb of God"). This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... A lamb holding a Christian banner is a typical symbol for Agnus Dei. ...


Adagio for Strings Image File history File links Adagio_for_Strings-Samuel_Barber. ...

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The piece uses an arch form, employing and then inverting, expanding, and varying a stepwise ascending melody. In music, arch form is a sectional way of structuring a piece of music based on the repetition, in reverse order, of all or most musical sections such that the overall form is symmetrical, most often around a central movement. ... In music theory, the word inversion has several meanings. ... In music, variation is a formal technique where material is altered during repetition; reiteration with changes. ... In music, a step is a linear or successive interval between two pitches which are consecutive scale degrees. ... Look up melody in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

The long, flowing melodic line moves freely between the voices in the string choir; for example, the first section of the Adagio begins with the principal melodic cell played by first violins, but ends with its restatement by violas, transposed down a fifth. Violas continue with a variation on the melodic cell in the second section; the basses are silent for this and the next section. The expansive middle section begins with cellos playing the principal melodic cell in mezzo-soprano range; as the section builds, the string choir moves up the scale to their highest registers, culminating in a fortissimo-forte climax followed by sudden silence. A brief series of mournful chords serve as a coda to this portion of the piece, and reintroduces the bass section. The last section is a restatement of the original theme, with an inversion of the second piece of the melodic cell, played by first violins and violas in unison; the piece ends with first violins slowly restating the first five notes of the melody in alto register, holding the last note over a brief silence and a fading accompaniment.

Popularity and influence

The 1938 world broadcast debut, with Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC Orchestra, was selected in 2005 for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the United States Library of Congress.[2] The National Recording Registry is a list of sound recordings which are culturally, historically or aesthetically important, and/or inform or reflect life in the United States. ... Construction of the Thomas Jefferson Building, from July 8, 1888 to May 15, 1894. ...

In 2004, Barber's masterpiece was voted the "saddest classical" work ever by listeners of the BBC's Today programme, ahead of "Dido's Lament" from Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell, and the "Adagietto" from Gustav Mahler's 5th symphony[3]. The version of the piece performed by London Symphony Orchestra was, for a time, the highest selling classical piece on iTunes. [4] For other uses, see BBC (disambiguation). ... Today, sometimes referred to as the Today programme to avoid ambiguity, is BBC Radio 4s long-running early morning news and current affairs programme, which is now broadcast from 6am to 9am from Monday to Friday and from 7am to 9am on Saturdays. ... The Composer, Henry Purcell Dido and Aeneas is an opera by the English Baroque composer Henry Purcell, from a libretto by Nahum Tate. ... Henry Purcell Henry Purcell (IPA: ;[1] September 10 (?),[2], 1659–November 21, 1695), a British Baroque composer. ... “Mahler” redirects here. ... The Symphony No. ... The London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) is one of the major orchestras of the United Kingdom. ... This article is about the iTunes application. ...

The piece can be heard in films such as Platoon, The Elephant Man, El Norte, Amélie, Lorenzo's Oil, S1m0ne and Reconstruction.[citation needed] Because of this[citation needed] it is also used in several episodes of The Simpsons in scenes lampooning sadness and destruction ("Strong Arms of the Ma" and "Marge Gamer").[citation needed] Platoon is an Academy Award winning 1986 Vietnam War film written and directed by Oliver Stone and starring Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe and John C. McGinley. ... The Elephant Man is a 1980 biopic loosely based on the story of the 19th century British deformed celebrity, Joseph Merrick (called John Merrick in the film). ... El Norte founded by Alejandro Junco de la Vega is a major newspaper in the state of Nuevo León, Mexico. ... Amélie (Tautou), her father Raphaël (Rufus), and the travelling garden gnome. ... Lorenzos Oil is a 1992 drama film directed by George Miller. ... S1m0ne (also spelled Simone) is a 2002 science fiction drama film written, produced and directed by New Zealander Andrew Niccol, starring Al Pacino. ... Reconstruction is a 2001 documentary made by Irene Lusztig that investigates the Ioanid Gang bank heaist committed in 1959 in Communist Romania. ... Simpsons redirects here. ... Strong Arms of The Ma is the true 300th episode of The Simpsons. ... Marge Gamer is the seventeenth episode of The Simpsons eighteenth season, which originally aired April 22, 2007. ...

The choir version is heard in the 1999 PC game Homeworld[citation needed] and during one of the game over sequences in Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom.[citation needed] A version is also played in the ER episode The Lost.[citation needed] For the term used in science-fiction, see Core worlds. ... ER is an Emmy-winning American serial medical drama created by novelist Michael Crichton and set primarily in the emergency room of fictional County General Hospital in Cook County, Chicago, Illinois. ...

An electronic version was made by William Orbit in 1999,[citation needed] and a trance remix of this was made by world renowned Dutch DJs Ferry Corsten and Tiësto.[citation needed] Tiesto's hard trance remix of the arrangement, which he made in 2005, is considered to be one of the greatest trance remixes of all time and it gained great prominence in the club scene throughout Europe and the world, charting at #37 in the UK and #20 in Ireland.[citation needed] It also featured in Tiesto's set at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, which was televised to 4 billion people globally.[citation needed] Hardcore DJs Stephen Hill & Technikal released their "K Series Mix" in 2004,[citation needed] and Finnish freeform artist Alek Száhala remixed the track in 2006 which is currently waiting to be released.[citation needed] William Orbit ( born on 15 December 1956 as William Mark Wainwright in Shoreditch, Hackney) is an English musician and record producer, perhaps best known to most for his work on Madonnas album Ray of Light, which received four Grammy Awards. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Ferry Corsten (born December 4, 1973 in Rotterdam, Netherlands) is an early pioneer and producer of trance, in addition to being a world-renowned DJ and remixer. ... Tiësto (born Tijs Verwest on January 17, 1969 in Breda, The Netherlands) is one of the worlds most famous trance DJs. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The ceremony for the lighting of the flame is arranged as a pagan pageant, with priestesses dancing. ... This article is about the capital of Greece. ... <nowiki>Insert non-formatted text here<nowiki>Insert non-formatted text here<nowiki>Insert non-formatted text here<nowiki>Insert non-formatted text here<nowiki>Insert non-formatted text here</nowiki></nowiki></nowiki></nowiki></nowiki> This article is about electronic music. ... The word freeform may refer to: Freeform art - an approach to the arts, particularly sculpture and painting but also applicable to other creative endeavors such as: Freeform hardcore, a subgenre of the hardcore genre of electronic dance music Freeform (radio format), a radio station programming format Freeform, a type of... Alek Száhala (born Aleksi Sahala in Helsinki, Finland, April 4, 1982) is a Finnish electronic music producer. ...

It was featured in the British TV show Spaced at the end of episode 12 called "Gone". It is used during a fake gunfight as a parody of the Vietnam War film Platoon. The climax coincides with the famous arms-raised position that Sgt. Elias makes as he dies.[citation needed] For the song by the Smashing Pumpkins, see Pisces Iscariot. ...

The track "Interlude" from British rock band Muse's album Absolution is a cover version of "Adagio for Strings" tremolo picked on a guitar with tons of gain.[citation needed] For other uses, see Muse (disambiguation). ... Absolution is the third studio album by English rock band Muse. ...



  1. ^ The Impact of Barber's 'Adagio for Strings'. National Public Radio. Retrieved on 2006-12-05.
  2. ^ The National Recording Registry 2005. Library of Congress. Retrieved on 2007-04-27.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Big demand for classical downloads is music to ears of record industry. Guardian Unlimited.

  Results from FactBites:
Adagio for Strings - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (562 words)
Adagio for Strings is a piece of classical music for string orchestra, arranged by the American composer Samuel Barber from his first string quartet.
The ballet, Adagio for Strings, choreographed for American Ballet Theatre by John Meehan to Barber's music of the same title, had its premiere at the Metropolitan Opera House on 8 April 1980.
Adagio for Strings is heard both in the opening launch sequence and later in the third mission of the PC strategy game Homeworld
  More results at FactBites »



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